Programmatic advertising and retargeting strategies have not done the best job at standing up for softer brand attributes. Historically the whole programmatic market place has been focused on direct response KPIs with little to no consideration for brand values. We’ve all had first hand experience of being retargeted with that product/ hotel that we browsed once, forever to be reminded not to visit that site again in fear of being made to feel guilty for not completing the purchase. Imagine if we went into a shop and tried on a piece of clothing, to be stalked for the next 30 days by the sales assistant waving the product in our faces…strange, and entirely inappropriate.
Numerous studies including a recent path to conversion study by Millward Brown state that as few as two per cent of consumers convert during their first visit to a site. So how do we appropriately engage with that audience, encourage sales, and get the right blend of direct response and brand messaging?
Considering the data and technology available, retargeting strategies should be smarter. We can do so much better than re-hashing the same vendor templates that have been in rotation since 2008. This is an opportunity to engage intelligently with audiences who are already aware of your brand. Audiences should be segmented dependent on product or service browsed, the page they visited, how far down the purchase funnel they may be, as well as by how recently they visited the site. Each audience needs to be targeted with bespoke creative and messaging, frequencies and budgets – retargeting is a perfect example of where one size does not fit all.
That’s before we overlay third party data to gain as much intel as possible on the audience we’re communicating with. For example, take one of our leading retail clients Clarks. A consumer pops a pair of male brogues in their basket but does not check out – we’ve automatically placed them within a male audience segment. Third party overlays that give us an accurate reading on gender tells us that this is in fact a female consumer; we can start to cross sell with our top selling female products. Demographic indicators such as gender, life stage, age, affluence and previous purchase habits enable us to build better audience segments increasing not only conversion rates, but also brand favourability. A premium brand like Clarks has multiple audiences, but even within their female product ranges there are differences; from their older core audience to the younger trend-setting audience that has inspired collaborations with designers such as Orla Kiely and recently launched at London Fashion Week. Using third party overlays we can ensure that the Orla Kiely promo video reaches and appeals to the right consumers rather than potentially alienating the Clarks core audience with products that do not fit their demographic.
Your retargeting strategy needs to fully understand the audience it’s communicating with in order to increase brand favourability. We also need to steer away from uninspiring, template ad formats. Utilise video, use rich media ad formats, and implement smart communication strategies that leverage sequential messaging. Each and every interaction with your audience is valuable. If one product or service does not entice, then try another. A creative tool kit should be deployed to keep your messaging fresh, but always relevant.
More than half of consumers in a recent survey by WARC said that online ads were of interest on the initial viewing, but by the fifth time they were “intrusive”. More than half in the same study were put off buying products or services if they saw the same ad multiple times. Dependent upon whether we’re working with a high-ticket product or service with a long consideration period or a lower-cost repeat purchase, we need to take frequency capping seriously, optimising to the most relevant conversion window. The trend within the industry to test multiple partners simultaneously only serves to confuse audiences. Steer clear of disjointed strategies and messaging, and ensure your consumer has a tailored, relevant brand experience.
This year we’ve already implemented attitudinal surveys across our client activity that gives huge insight on brand metrics. In the long term we expect enhanced programmatic algorithms dedicated to optimising to brand favourability to become a reality. Watch this space!
Davina Dunlea, CEO, Chalk Social
Tel: 0203 700 3071